Flash flood damages park walking path

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Unexpected repairs are what many affected by Friday’s flash flooding are now scrambling to fix.

The same goes for the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District, which struggles with uneven walking paths.

Flooding washed away much of the trails themselves.

Randy Gouge spends much of his time hiking the trails in Ritter Park.

He’s been working on going from three miles a day to five miles a day, but lately he’s had to avoid many parts of the trail that were damaged from Friday’s flash floods.

“I try to stay as far away from the main track as possible. There are about three sides here that have been damaged, just the main part of the main fair is still in the same condition as it always was, but on the back sides you have to be very careful,” Gouge said. “Sometimes I’ll cut in the middle here on the black top just to make sure I don’t twist my ankle or hurt myself.”

Officials say the familiar soft pavement you’re used to walking on is called dense gravel aggregate.

Much of it is missing in parts of the trail and is either in the creek or on a pile of grass.

“You may notice along the walkway that there is a lot that has been washed off to the side and our crews will be here trying to get as much of the grass off of it as possible and put it back in the trail to salvage what they can,” Greater Huntington Parks General Manager Kathy McKenna said.

McKenna says there are about a mile of trails in Ritter Park and about 3 miles in Memorial Park.

“In Ritter Park, about a quarter of a mile is damaged. On the way down Memorial about 1.4 miles is damaged,” McKenna told WSAZ.

She says they’re looking at around $150,000 in damages.

“It was not something that we had budgeted for, so if FEMA funds are not available to help with that, it just means that some other projects that we had planned will probably be put on the back burner,” he said. -she adds.

McKenna says the current goal is to make the paths as safe as possible and level them so there isn’t as much uneven pavement.

She says once they do that, they will begin the rehab process.

In the meantime, people should be very careful if using the trails.

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